Marking a Milestone

A couple weeks ago, I subjected Little Mister to modeling for some pictures to mark his first year. Here are a few.

Photo credits: Rachel Lin, Perspective Photography





Just so you know, I’m being very restrained. Even though he mostly refused to smile or look at the camera or be still… Even though it was cold and he sat in goose poop, then fell and skinned his nose… Even still, I think they’re all wonderful. I might be biased. Have a happy Wednesday!


Mixed at Best

Dear Erin,

So let me tell you about this book I’ve been teasing for weeks. I enjoyed it, but I’m afraid it’s not really worth the build up.

Still Life is the first in a mystery series about a Quebecois detective, a series directly descended from the work of Christie, Allingham, Sayers, Tey, James, Simenon, etc. The detective is a professional, a chief inspector, and the setting is an isolated village. The victim has “friend of Miss Marple” hard coded into her DNA, and, as part of the “cozy” mystery genre, the story is not too gory, not too profane, not too tense. Basically every element of this book is dripping with familiarity. So far, so good.

Chief Inspector Gamache, of the Montreal Surete,- kind, genteel, practically perfect in every way – comes to investigate the violent yet apparently accidental death of local schoolmarm and friend-of-all Jane Neal. Predictable plot and character development ensue. It doesn’t rank with the best of the genre, not even close, but the style was elevated slightly above the mass market paperback bon bons that line the shelves of the used book stores, and the author clearly put a lot of work into the psychology of the various characters.

The only element that seemed like any kind of experimentation was that the author narrated the thoughts of many characters (rather than just one or two, as is more usual in this genre). I’m still unsure whether this was a success or not; it seemed more distracting and undisciplined to me than useful. Besides, when I realized what was going on, I spent way too much time trying to remember whose head she hadn’t been in, because maybe that person was the killer!

Sounds like I didn’t like it. Yet it was compulsively readable – at least to someone who needs ease of accessibility at the moment. To be clear, that would be me; I even picked up another in the series from the library. But my flirtation with Gamache couldn’t last, because … well, tell me if I’m missing something:

In the second book I got (The Beautiful Mystery), there’s a preface in which a monk is consumed with an ancient piece of music where the notes are indicated in an archaic manner, with a drawing of a raised or lowered hand to indicate whether the music goes up or down the scale. The monk just can’t decrypt this music because he doesn’t know what note the song starts on. Now, is it just me, or is that completely stupid? It doesn’t matter where a song starts (especially if it’s just sung a capella anyway); what matters is the relation of each note to the other. You can sing the same song in any key.

So that was annoying, and I just took the book back. (But it still feels like I must be missing something; surely a blind spot that big couldn’t have gotten through the publishing process.) I think I may still try the second in the series, but the good Inspector Gamache has not earned any space on my bookshelf, at least not for now.


Life of the Party

Dear Erin,

So Little Man is ready to add to the noise level in your house. Congratulations? Just kidding, that’s awesome news! I thought you just had a deep and profound thinker on your hands with that one.

Last night was a late one for us, so it’s kind of quiet around here today. Two of our very good friends got married (to each other; it was convenient that way), and Charles was the best man.


We clean up pretty well, right? It’s a little hard to see, but Little Mister’s tie is similar to his daddy’s. Seeing them together was like watching Charles walking around with a mini-me.

It was a lovely ceremony (at least, I’m pretty sure it was; I spent the entire time in the back with LM trying to keep him relatively quiet and non-disruptive. We’ll just ignore the screaming right as the bride was about to start her vows.), in a hollow, with the hills rising all around, a grove of trees with a creek winding along. Really, quite a beautiful place. And a good time with a fun bunch of people.

It turns out we’ve been raising a dancing man! He wasn’t into the food, and the toasts left him cold, but when the music started, Little Mister became the life of the party. I wish I had gotten some good pictures, but I was too busy laughing. Imagine this: he’s standing in the middle of a circle of people, all dancing and looking at him, and he’s bouncing and swinging his arms up and down, and everyone’s laughing. Then he gets passed from person to person as they all want to dance with him. If you held him and didn’t dance, he’d bounce for himself. He absolutely loved it.


This is at nearly ten o’clock. He was still having fun, although he would crash about thirty seconds after this picture. So I think today will be devoted to recovery from all that fun. But, now I know: my boy’s gotta dance!

Talk Like A Parrot Day

Dear Kristen,

Are those your same boots from…forever ago?  If so, you’ve gotten Mom and Dad’s money out of them!  I’m sorry your adventure was cut short – or cut differently, since it wasn’t really all that short of an adventure.  But I know that when LM is bigger, you will be chasing him up mountains, not just in the parking lot!

I’m not doing much chasing of my own LM around here.  He likes to roll, but no crawling yet.  He is, however, making other milestones.

First tooth FINALLY.  He’s been drooling like…well, like Gibbs when I’m making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Drooling waterfalls.


Sleeping WONDERFULLY. No more crazy 9:00 wake-ups.

Sitting…kinda.  Its really more like, falling in slow motion.  But he can do a couple of minutes, so that’s exciting.

And in the last couple of days he’s found his voice – and he likes it!  Munchkin does enough talking for the both of them.  And until recently, he’s been content to let her do it for him.  She translates his mouthy silent smile to meet her whim and he’s happy to play along.  He wants a new toy, he wants me to read THIS book, he wants to watch a show.  Oh wait.  Now she’s talking for herself.

Anyways, he’s making noisy noises, and they sound a lot like a parrot.  Or a pterodactyl. But we’ll go with parrot today, since he’s wearing his pirate uniform.


Its fun and adorable.

And loud.

Not Meant to Be

Dear Erin,

I know you’ve been going back and forth with your “Horizon” internet people, so I’m glad you were able to post on Monday. (Yay! You win!! or won, anyway.) I have no such excuse for last Friday, but I’ll do the usual and blame it on Little Mister. This time, we’ll say … oh, um … transitioning nap times. Yes, that sounds good. He didn’t sleep (when I expected him to), so therefore I couldn’t write.

Yep, I'm blaming him when he's not here to defend himself.

Yep, I’m blaming him when he’s not here to defend himself.

I was going to tell you about that book I was reading last week. It was pretty enjoyable, and an easy, quick read, which is a plus sometimes. But I’m going to put that off again (which itself might tell you something about the book), and instead tell you about what happened – or didn’t happen, to be more precise – on Friday.

So, I got this baby back carrier, and although it was a good deal, I want to make sure that I actually use it, especially before it gets too darn hot in the afternoons here. I’ve taken LM out once, and that went pretty well, so on Friday, I decided to take him to Rancho San Antonio.

san antonio

I have come to this park twice, I think. Once when we first moved here, I went with a friend and enjoyed it. The second time, I went with Mom and Dad, when LM was just a few months old, but it was nearly 100 degrees with practically no shade, and I just couldn’t see it with such a little boy.

But Friday was cool, and LM has a big hat now, so I thought we’d try again. I was all prepared before we left – water, sunscreen, extra clothes and diaper for him, snacks for both of us, plus the baby, all to go in the carrier. Not sure how I thought I’d be hiking very far with all that on my back, but I figured I’d look for the flat paths.

The first problem was that it’s been awhile since I’ve been there, so I took the wrong exit off the interstate. Got stuck behind a doublewide. Got cut off. Couldn’t turn left, then couldn’t turn right, then couldn’t make a U-turn. It took me five or ten minutes to get back on track. Annoying, but fine, it wasn’t going to derail my plans.

Got to the park. Took another wrong turn. (Then another.) At this point, you might ask your sister where her head was at. I don’t know; I just don’t know. I did eventually get to where I wanted to be. Annoying, but fine. We’re here; we’re going to do this hike.

Then it’s ten minutes of changing the baby (see how I was thinking ahead?) and chasing him around so I could get sunscreen on him. And he was finally dressed, anointed, and corralled.

ready to hike

And not super happy about it. But fine, we’re here; we’re going to do this hike.

Then I reached into the passenger seat to get the camera and felt something odd about my left foot.

broken boot

Okay, sorry it’s not a great picture. But I hope you can tell that that’s not a shadow. That’s the sole of my boot, separating from the rest.

So, after all that, no hiking. Couldn’t even really let LM run around because I couldn’t chase him very effectively. So I drove him over to Charles’s office and handed him off to his father for a few minutes while I drank a large coffee. (That’s an acceptable substitute at 3 in the afternoon for a large glass of wine, right?)

I suggested that a building full of engineers should have a roll of duct tape, which I could use to do a quick repair and maybe try again. But he pointed out that they were software engineers and this was a hardware problem. (I remain skeptical. I think they must have a closet full somewhere and just don’t want to share.)

But some days, you’ve just got to accept that you’re just not going to do that hike. It’s just not meant to be.